What Is a Work-Life Balance Program?
A work-life balance program is a service for employees that helps them better handle both job and personal demands. This type of program includes free work-life services provided by corporations and companies to satisfy as well as retain employees. The program services may be sponsored by government initiatives for businesses and institutions to help citizens increase their quality of life. A work-life balance program is usually developed for an organization's specific needs by expert corporate trainers. Work-life balance programs vary widely, but may include weight or fitness management, help to quit smoking, adoption services, parental leave, telework, job sharing, tuition assistance, flexible hours, and/or daycare support.
Balancing raising children with working outside the home is an issue for many employees. It often affects the employer if a parent must arrive late for a shift or leave early when his or her child's school or daycare times don't mesh with the work schedule. In the case of a child's illness or a school closure due to severe weather conditions or a professional day, a parent may even be absent from work if suitable alternative care can't be arranged. Some employees may have an aging parent they are responsible for arranging care for.
To increase attendance and productivity, an organization may have a work-life balance program that includes helpful services for employees with daycare responsibilities. For some companies, it may be as simple as having flexible hours so employees may all work the same number of hours each day yet have varying start and end times depending on their daycare or school drop off or pick up times. Flexible hours may also be given to employees attending school or training programs, such as evening shifts for students in class during the day. Employers may include tuition assistance for students to help ease money stress for their staff as well as have the benefit of more educated workers.
Job sharing, in which two people have the same responsibilities and alternate days or shifts while coordinating their input with the company's needs, may be another service that organizations with a work-life balance program offer. This type of arrangement often suits two workers with the same skills and need for part-time hours, yet on different days and times. Telework, or telecommuting options, are popular for many people, as this arrangement allows them to work from home rather than having to come into the office or job site. In some companies, telework may be a full-time choice, while in others only part-time telecommuting is permitted.
Maternity leave is a work-life balance service required by law in many countries. Some organizations include the same leave of absence with pay arrangement for new fathers as well as part of a work-life balance program. Educational institutions and larger organizations may offer adoption assistance of both money and time off for parents in the process of adopting a child. Some companies offer work-life programs to assist employees in improving their health, for example professional services or sessions to help them quit smoking or reach and maintain a healthy weight.
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